Monday, October 1, 2012

Two Square Miles at the Basilica

For those who weren't here when it happened and for those who were, this Friday, October 5, the film Two Square Miles will be shown at Basilica Hudson. Two Square Miles, released in 2006, tells the David-and-Goliath story of how a grass-roots movement thwarted the plan of a multinational Swiss-owned cement company to build the biggest cement plant in the United States just over the border from Hudson in Greenport. What will probably be most intriguing to contemplate for Hudsonians viewing Two Square Miles in 2012 is how some people featured in the film have changed and some have remained the same.

The screening of Two Square Miles takes place at 7 p.m. and will be followed by a discussion with film makers Barbara Ettinger and Sven Huseby and principal activist Sam Pratt.

Another of Gossips' picks in the Basilica's schedule of October screenings is Detropia, the documentary about Detroit, "a grand city teetering on the brink of dissolution." David Denby in the New Yorker called it "the most moving documentary I have seen in years." Detropia will be shown on Thursday, October 25, and film maker Rachel Grady will be present for a question-and-answer session after the screening. 

[Full Disclosure: Gossips was born and raised in Michigan, albeit on the opposite side of the state, on the sand-duned shores of Lake Michigan, but Detroit was our state's major city, and we rooted for the Tigers.]

The other films in the Basilica's lineup of October screenings are:

  • Thursday, October 11: Assault on Precinct 13. John Carpenter, 1976.
  • Thursday, October 18: Perfumed Nightmare. Kidlat Tabimik, 1977.
For more information about the films, visit the Basilica website.


  1. "As the film began to take shape in my mind, I hoped that it could become a universal story of community, engagement and citizen activism. I wanted the film to become a tool to inspire viewers to get involved in their own communities and to understand that their actions can generate change. I wanted people to see that democracy works." (From Barbara Ettinger's press statement.)

    Looking at Hudson today, it's easy to see that the reality falls far short of Ettinger's noble intention.

    What happened to this place? And where is the new blood?

  2. I hope the new blood will go and see this film, because already 7 years after this victory too many people haven't a clue what happened and what it took to get read of a disastrous threat. The fact that the politics have not improved things much, in fact have stymied whatever might have happened ever since is telling and frustrating -
    but is this democracy? Or is it apathy or is it a corrupt system?

  3. I'd say it's democracy as apathy in a corrupt system!

    New people are crucial for the scene, and not necessarily to agree on foregone attitudes and conclusions.

    The open house weekends at Furgary were an unanticipated success. It was great to see people from such different social milieus mingling and checking each other out. I spent the rest of the summer down there, and the Furgarians never stopped expressing their appreciation for those they'd formerly underestimated.

    I heard symmetrical comments from the other direction too. For me, it introduced a whole new way of connecting to the river. That sad chapter was more vital than anything I've witnessed in Hudson besides my own experiences with the excellent South Bay Task Force.

    We need more things that laterally connect people at the ground level (or maybe water level), and not just through the apex of unworkable local power structures.

    Too bad there's no public meeting room. That's what this place needs more than anything.

  4. I agree Jennifer
    This film is a must see and if you don't think history matters think again. A lot of positive change happened during the making of this film and it's great to watch.